3D Mapping from a Small Unmanned System (UxS)  


1. Overview

The U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory ("MCWL") in Quantico, VA, has contracted InSitech, Inc., to help the Lab discover a broader spectrum of innovative and non-traditional technology providers than its current mechanisms and resources typically provide. InSitech is under contract with MCWL to perform this outreach, review the responses, rate the responses, and brief them on the responses.

Response to this technology Topic is at the discretion of the Respondent. There is no guarantee of selection or funding, and neither this Topic nor its responses obligate the U.S. Government or InSitech in any way.

About this Opportunity


  • This outreach effort is for market research; the objective is to determine whether promising technologies and technology development partners exist

  • Responses to this outreach may be evaluated by InSitech and the U.S. Government

  • Based on the U.S. Government's evaluation (and through possible follow-on discussions with selected respondents), the U.S. Government may decide to fund programs around promising technology areas (if any) via a U.S. Government issued solicitation

  • Respondents to this outreach may be specifically invited by the U.S. Government to respond to U.S. Government issued solicitations on these topics with proposals

  • Respondents to this outreach may also be specifically presented with other opportunities to partner with the U.S. Government through mechanisms such as Collaborative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA's)

  • U.S. and non-U.S. companies and academic institutions are invited to respond to this RFI

2. Statement of Need

The Marine Corps is seeking the ability to visibly inspect, and to create real-time, 3D maps of the interiors of structures (such as buildings, tunnels, caves, etc.) using a small unmanned system (UxS) to carry the sensor and mapping technology. The UxS can be a ground vehicle or an aerial vehicle, tethered or untethered to a control station. Such 3D mapping platforms meeting the following requirements are of interest:

  • Less than 1 foot in diameter, i.e. small enough to be handheld

  • Programmable for both range and time of travel

  • Capable of self-navigating through the aforementioned types of structures; use of GPS for navigation and mapping would be helpful but is not necessary

  • Highly maneuverable, able to traverse up to 4 foot vertical obstacles, cross over standing water such as puddles, pass through open windows, etc.

  • Able to record 3-dimensional data of physical matter (dimensions, location, etc) as it moves

  • Able to transmit the mapping data in real-time back to a handheld device (such as a tablet) and render the 3D map on the device for viewing by the operator, and/or able to store the mapping data during travel and download it to the device for viewing the map upon its return

  • Able to return to its Marine operator once it finishes its mapping route, and also smart enough to know when it needs to turn around and return to the operator if it is low on battery life, i.e. has enough battery life to get back to the operator

  • Difficult to detect by enemy forces / stealthy

  • While 3D mapping is desirable, real time imaging is priority

An acceptable alternative implementation to sending the mapping platform out ahead of the Marine operator could be an approach where the platform travels some desired distance ahead of Marines on the move while transmitting the 3D map in real-time. Such an approach could help relieve difficult stealth/alert issues as the Marines would retain some element of surprise when encountering potential threats around corners, etc.

Respondents should take note that the Marine Corps expects its future operations to take place more frequently in urban environments where this type of imaging and 3D mapping capability will be very desirable.

3. Instructions for Respondents

In order to have your company's technology considered under this process, you will need to submit a white paper that includes information about your company, its capabilities, and the proposed solution to the stated technology need. The white paper requirements are provided below.  WHITE PAPERS ARE DUE BY 12:00 MIDNIGHT ON JANUARY 5, 2016.  Incomplete white papers and white papers received after that time may not be accepted.  InSitech, Inc., and the Government will NOT accept or respond to questions from respondents under this RFI process. Should the Government decide to issue a U.S. Government issued solicitation on this topic in the future, standard Government Q&A practices will be employed at that time. Please e-mail your white paper to MCWLOpportunities@insitech.org.

By submitting your white paper you acknowledge that you are not providing privileged information (confidential, trade secrets, unpublished patents, etc.) or sensitive information of any kind whatsoever. Please note that, due to the market survey nature of this outreach, as well as to the role InSitech plays as an intermediary between the US Government and private sector companies, InSitech does not sign nondisclosure or confidentiality agreements in connection with white paper submittals. However, in select cases where a response appears particularly promising and the provision of confidential information would aid further evaluation, InSitech will sign a reasonable non-disclosure agreement if there is mutual interest in doing so.

4. White Paper Requirements

Interested parties should submit white papers not to exceed ten (10) pages, with one inch margins, and no smaller than 12 pt Times New Roman or Courier New font in Microsoft Word or pdf format. The white paper should not exceed 6 MB in size. The white paper should be a stand-alone, self-explanatory document free of Specialist language, or references to third-party works, unless these latter are summarized in the Paper itself. The white paper must include the following elements: (1) Company name, physical address and website address, (2) Name, title, telephone number, and e-mail address of company's main point(s) of contact, (3) A statement of the respondent's understanding of the Government's requirements, (4) A description of the respondent's core capabilities and technology, (5) A description of the proposed technology solution, (6) A feasibility assessment of the solution and how it meets the Government requirements, (7) A high-level discussion of the costs involved (ranges/order of magnitude acceptable at this stage), (8) A high-level risk assessment that articulates the respondent's understanding of associated risks, (9) An estimate of Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) of major subsystems, components, and the system as a whole, (10) A description of any projects that the respondents company is or has been involved in that are similar in concept to what is described in this topic. This should include any relevant lessons learned, (11) A summary of any independent testing/evaluation results and fielded applications, and (12) Any additional materials that are deemed appropriate by the respondent. In addition to the 10-page limit, respondents may append to the white paper, at their own discretion, the bios of the key management and technical personnel relevant to the proposed technology solution. Submittals of bios is optional.

5. Evaluation of Responses

Major evaluation factors shall include (1) Overall technical merit of the proposed technology solution, (2) Degree in which the technology solution performance/functionality addresses the Government needs, (3) Estimated maturity level for military application, and (4) Overall business profile of the respondent. InSitech, Inc., may contact respondents to address any omissions and/or clarifications to their respective RFI white papers as part of the evaluation process.